Friday, April 30, 2010

Family and Friends Newsletter Friday 30 April 2010


This started out as a bad research week for me, but it got better.

1. For a while I thought that the FamilySearch Record Search pilot page had gone away when all I could pull up from the main page was census information. I found links directly to the databases on Randy Seaver’s Genea-Musings, and was able to access the them, but many of the databases I use (Arkansas Marriages, Alabama Deaths, among others) did not have images (Texas Deaths did). Then later the images were back and new databases were added. Sigh of relief!

I was even able to find a few new items on some of the new databases.

2. We installed a new version of Microsoft Office for Mac on my computer, and Reunion has decided it does not want to use it for generating reports. It is telling me that we have to buy iWork. I’m doing the 30-day tryout for now, but really…. Oh, yes, and I don’t like this version of Office – palettes gumming up my screen, among other things. Why is it that some people can only feel they have accomplished something when they have completely redone something that didn’t really need to be changed?


Norman research earlier in the week did not go as swimmingly without the Arkansas Marriage images, but I’m back to work on them.


This has been a great Brinlee week and I haven’t even been doing any Brinlee research! Earlier in the week a second cousin once removed, a granddaughter of Clarence Brinlee (see A Noble Life) got in touch with me and has sent me information and pictures! I am so thrilled that I can find out more about Clarence and Ethel Brinlee.

Today another researcher, who is not part of my Brinlee family but descends from Brinleys who are not related and has been involved in keeping track of the various Brinlee/Brindley/Brinley families I this country, sent me some material he had received from a couple of Brinlee researchers. I was familiar with a little bit of it, but there is a lot of detail and some good information supporting the theory that John T. Brindley (m. Ann Twitchett) of Christian County, Kentucky was the father of George and Hiram Brinlee Sr. (my great-great grandfather), with whom the spelling “Brinlee” apparently started.

There is apparently a Brinlee family legend that Hiram Brinlee Sr.’s older brother George ran away from the family home in Kentucky to Texas when he was sixteen years old; by my reckoning, that would put him in Texas at the same time or earlier than Stephen Austin!

I also tried Google News Archive for "Brinlee" and there were a lot of hits; I'll have to take some time to go through all of them. One of the first things I found was an article on my father's death in a car accident.

Late Acknowledgement

For some reason I forgot to include Dee Akard Welborn at Funeral Cards & Genealogy in my acknowledgements for the Ancestors Approved Award. Thank you so much, Dee! Funeral Cards & Genealogy has also been added to my “Texas Team” list. I would also like to thank Jennifer at La Mia Familia for this award. You all are the greatest!

Follow Friday: Roots’n’Leaves

It’s no secret in the genea-blogging community that Joan Hill, who writes the blog Roots’n’Leaves, is one heckuva writer. She was the featured writer for the 89th Carnival of Genealogy sponsored by Jasia at Creative Gene; her poem, “I Dinna Hear the Voices,” struck a chord with all who read it. I started to look through some of her past posts to select a few representative articles, and it was extremely difficult to pick just a few. Even her “About Me” profile on her blog is arresting and captures her feel for the march of time: “A child of the 30’s and 40’s, ‘Betty Crocker’ mom of the 50’s and 60’s, college student of the 70’s, businesswoman of the 80’s and 90’s, and finally retired to my home in the hills south of Ashland, Oregon, to garden, contemplate, and write.”

Some of my favorite posts illustrate Joan’s gift for seeing the transcendent and the wonderful in the mundane events, the routine, and the little surprises and joys of life (“Sentimental Sunday: A Love Story at Burger King,” “Carnival of Genealogy, 92nd Edition: A Night of Dancing at the Crazy Horse”). And, of course, one of my favorite posts has to be a portrait of a beloved animal companion: “Sentimental Sunday: My Sophisticated Rake.” Finally, to see “what makes Joan tick, read “Confessions of a Storytelling Family Historian; Part I, The Beginning.” Each genea-blogger I read brings out some slightly different aspect of genealogy. For Joan – it is genealogy as creativity in the form of storytelling and poetry.

This Week

Betty at Betty’s Boneyard Genealogy Blog writes about how to coax information out of a reluctant relative in “Madness Monday: When Relatives Won’t Share.”

Taneya at Taneya’s Genealogy Blog, in “Genealogical Societies and I,” discusses what genealogy societies can do to lure her (and other members) in and keep her (and them) when genealogists have to limit their participation to just a few societies.

Something all genea-bloggers should keep in mind (refraining from copyright infringement) is addressed by Dear Myrtle in “Genea-Bloggers’ Code of Conduct.”

I loved reading the tribute to two moms and description of a “mixed family” in “They Said It Would Never Last” at The Genealogy Gals.

Lynn at The Armchair Genealogist asks “Who Owns Your Family History Story?” and advises family historians to "let history be kind."

Tina at Gen Wish List presents some very good ideas in “OGS Conference – advice for conference organizers.”

I try not to jump the gun on genealogy carnivals, but remember Jasia’s unforgettable “ghosted” photos in “Memory Too”? Well, if you want to know how to do that….

Happy 2nd Blogoversary to Sheri at Twig Talk!

This week I started following these blogs:

My Ancestor’s Name
Reconnected Roots
Ciccolella Family History

Monday, April 26, 2010

Memory Monday: The Missing Mermaid and the Children Who Would Not Sleep

There was one inescapable fact about my daughters as babies:






The colicky crying started some time in the first 24 hours after each was born. The day Daughter #1 turned 12 weeks old, the colic and frequent crying stopped on schedule. She became a sweet, cheerful baby. But still she didn’t sleep.

Colic lasted a couple of months longer for Daughter #2. Then she became Miss Curious and Alert – around the clock.

There is a picture of Daughter #1 and me, exhausted and (temporarily) asleep on the sofa, when she was about two months old. We have matching bags under our eyes.

I remember taking her for a walk in her stroller once in the brisk March air. She was crying. We encountered a neighbor who was out for a constitutional in his wheelchair. He remarked that he had never known babies could cry so loudly. I suppressed the urge to reply: “Oh, I got a bad one at the hospital, but don’t worry: I’m going to take her in and exchange her for a good one.”

On another occasion, we were in a restaurant and a chirpy mother was sitting with her toddlers at the next table over. We got to talking. She spoke of how both of her children had started sleeping through the night when they were six or seven weeks old. I tried to squelch thoughts of homicide.

The nights when our babies were in a good mood but were simply wide-awake Chatty Cathys were the worst. It is easier to let a baby cry it out than it is to abandon a wide-eyed cherub who just wants to show Mom and Dad how adorable she can be.

The first time daughter #1 slept through the night (actually, it was 13 straight hours – in other words, heaven) was when we had a David Attenborough nature special on TV. Back in our pre-children days, his soporific voice used to lull me to sleep as I lay stretched out in front of the TV, and he worked his magic once again. #1 was in her highchair. I turned the show on. Next thing we knew, her humongous pumpkin-head was in her oatmeal bowl and she was snoring.

Both girls eventually learned that nighttime was less entertaining than daytime and would occasionally fall asleep on their own. To encourage this, we gradually transitioned them to a sleep-conducive bedtime ritual. By sleep-conducive, I mean it made Dad and me really want to sleep. But it also seemed to put the little ones in the mood. And it only took a few hours.

First step was a looooong warm bath. When they were toddlers, this meant playtime. There were so many toys in the family bathroom that it looked like a water theme park.

Next came reading time. Mom said, “Only two books.” “Just one last book, one very, very, very last book,” they would say after two books, and then after three. Mom could see that the problem was that they were still sitting up and the light was still on.

“How about I tell you a story?” They loved the idea. I laid down the terms: “You only get stories when you are in bed and the lights are out.”

Thus began my career as Scheherazade.

How to get their interest and keep it? Make the stories about them (or at least two characters who could be their alter egos).

Finally I settled on a story about two little girls who went to visit their grandparents on an island one summer. Hmmm, what kind of adventures could they have? My own favorite stories when I was little had been those in which children had their own “secret world.” And on an island that would be … mermaids. Mermaids that no one else knew about.

At first the girls eagerly followed the story of how the little girls in the story discovered the mermaids and kept their secret. But where could we go from there? The ingredient that seemed to be absent was adventure.

So one day I started the story: “One day the girls went to visit the mermaids, only something terrible had happened: A mermaid was missing!”

This proved to be the formula that the girls just couldn’t get enough of. We got those mermaids into and out of all sorts of scrapes, just like the Perils of Pauline. Of course, the girls wanted me to keep telling stories (I told you it was like Scheherazade), but I had learned a parent's greatest tool – blackmail.

“I’ll tell you the rest tomorrow night if you go to sleep and stay asleep.”

And it worked. The days of Torture by Sleep Deprivation were over. Those stories were spun out over the course of two or three years. Occasionally we varied the plot, but when asked what kind of story they wanted to hear, the girls always gave the same answer: “A mermaid is missing!”

In more recent days I have tried to recreate some of those old plots, but I cannot summon up the same creative juices. It seems there was a magic element in exhaustion that cannot be duplicated.

It’s amazing how much of an inspiration desperation can be.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Surname Saturday Family of Wiley Turner Sisson and Lula E. Macon

Wiley Turner Sisson
b. 10 Aug 1876, Alabama
d. 22 Jan 1957
& Lula E. Macon
b. 8 Jul 1879, Alabama
d. 28 May 1950
m. ca 1899
|--Clyde G. Sisson
|----b. 29 Mar 1900, Alabama
|----d. 4 Oct 1955, Elmore Co., Alabama
|--Myrtle O. Sisson
|----b. 1902, Alabama
|--Mary E. Sisson
|----b. 1903, Alabama
|--Lillian M. Sisson
|----b. 24 Aug 1904, Alabama
|----d. Dec 1990, Alexander City, Tallapoosa, Alabama
|---& Orion Eldridge Hornsby
|----b. 30 Jun 1900, Tallassee, Elmore, Alabama
|----d. 24 Dec 1956, Tallassee, Elmore, Alabama
|----m. 1 Aug 1920
|--Weston E. Sisson
|----b. 1907, Alabama
|--Hellen Florence Sisson
|----b. 1909, Alabama

Wiley Turner Sisson was the half-brother of my great-grandmother Sarah Jane Sisson. Their father was William T. Sisson; Wiley Turner was the son of William’s third wife, Susan Caroline Tant.

I would love to share information with anyone related to/researching this family; you can contact me at my e-mail address, which can be found by going to my profile page (there is a link to that page in the About Me section to the left).

Friday, April 23, 2010

Family and Friends Newsletter Friday 23 April 2010

There is not much to report on this week. I am still plodding along with Norman family research. However, a few interesting tidbits continue to pop up here and there.


Norman – Mystery Normans again

More on Arkansas Marriage Records and more on Mystery Normans: I found two sets of marriage records for Jackson “Jack” W. Norman – first for his marriage to Dicey D. Norman, daughter of Newton Norman and Rebecca Dulcenia Weston, and second to Mary Alice Karr (1913) – I’m guessing that she is a relative of Mary Frances Karr, Joseph Madison Carroll Norman’s third wife.

As for Zara L. Cotton, the only known husband of Jackson Norman’s mother, “Aunt Jane” Norman, the records I found for him on Ancestry included a record (no images, though) for “1884 Crime PO Fraud.”

Naming Patterns

So in the course of Norman research this week I encountered a couple of interesting examples of naming patterns. One guy, whose father’s last name was Richardson and mother’s last name was Richards, was named Richard Richards Richardson. Another guy was named Billy Ray (and a last name). His first son by his first wife was named Billy Ray Jr. His first son by his second wife was Billy Ray II.

Follow Friday: Branching Out Through the Years

Branching Out Through the Years is one of the great “story-teller” genealogy blogs. Even many of the photos have the nugget of an intriguing story, such as a child’s encounter with a glass bubble or with a cat, or the picture of a “Modern Day Garden Warrior.” My favorite stories are the ones about “The Hero,” hummer’s late husband (the latest is “Sentimental Sunday: The Hero and His Wonderful Car”). What a character, what a man! Oh, but the Bandit stories are wonderful, too. So I guess you could say the very, very best stories are about The Hero and Bandit. Hummer sees the humor and the grace in all of life’s situations (such as in her post “Trees”). She is leaving a wonderful legacy for her children and grandchildren, but we are privileged to enjoy it, too.

This Week

Check out the 2nd Edition of the Carnival of African-American Genealogy hosted by Sandra at I Never Knew My Father. Sandra has done a wonderful job and the submissions are superb!

At Portals to the Past, Irish Mason tells about learning of the life led by her great-grandmother through listening to a taped interview made by a cousin in “Sentimental Sunday – Great Info & Insights – Great Grandma on Tape.”

Sue at It’s a Long, Long Journey writes of the effects mental illness has had and may have had in “Tracking Mental Illness in a Family” and “How Do You Walk Away from 12 Children?”

Brenda Joyce Jerome at West Kentucky Genealogy Blog gives some good advice on “Preparing to Visit Cemeteries.”

Talk about an intriguing mystery! Check out Nutfield Genealogy (again!), where Heather has posted “The Carole Brinkman Unsolved Murder Mystery.” On top of that, the connections that I mentioned in last week’s “Follow Friday” continue at Nutfield Genealogy; read about it in “Cousins Collaborate (and more relationships appear!)”. (Spoiler alert: There are also connections to Barbara at Life from the Roots and Carol at Reflections from the Fence).

Deborah at Help! The Fairy Folk Hid My Ancestors! recommends "Don't Let Empty Branches on Your Tree Stop You from Visiting Ireland!"

In “Connecting Straight to Margheim” at Grace and Glory Becky writes about a strange coincidence she discovered in her research – and elicits a lot of responses recounting similar strange coincidences!

Ruth has some good (and affordable) advice on the "Care and Feeding of a Gravestone" as well as "Family Foundations" at Genealogy is Ruthless without Me.

Happy 3rd Blogoversary to John Newmark at TransylvanianDutch!

Happy 1st Blogoversary to Tracy at The Pieces of My Past!

This week I started following these blogs:

Adventures in the Family Tree

A Family’s Story – Horse Thieves and All (that could so be my family’s story!)

Family Trees R We

Personal Corner

To Karen at Ancestor Soup, deepest condolences on the loss of her newborn grandson.

A bit about the format of Follow Friday:

The idea for “I started following these blogs” was “adopted” from Cindy’s Everything’s Relative - Researching Your Family History. The blog review is something that has been around the Genea-Blogosphere for a while and is promoted by Genea-Bloggers. The list of articles under “This Week” started out as a list I was keeping of blog posts that inspired/prompted me to talk to the computer (= my family thinks I'm crazy) or even write down a “Note to self: Expand on eight-sentence comment you made on so-and-so’s post and put it in a post.” When I didn’t get around to writing the posts in question, I started mentioning them in Follow Friday – at first just a few mentions each week. Many excellent new genealogy blogs have started up or come to general notice, and now there are usually about twice as many posts in my weekly lists. John at TransylvanianDutch kindly includes my Follow Friday in his “Other Weekly Lists” list, but I should note that his “Weekly Genealogy Picks,” Randy Seaver’s “Best of” at Genea-Musings, and Apple’s “Weekly Rewind” at Apple’s Tree are much more thorough and represent a wider sampling of blogs than my list does. Still, I get so many ideas and so much inspiration from my fellow genealogy bloggers that I certainly want to acknowledge them, and Follow Friday may be the easiest, most enjoyable post I do each week.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Memory Monday: Lost Things

The word “lost” can mean so many things, conjure up so many images and ideas, and have so many associations: lost innocence, lost child, lost chance.

I have lost many things during my life, some through my own fault, some not. What surprises me at this point in life is not how much regret the loss of these things has caused, but how little.

Some things that were once precious to me were lost through deliberate or inadvertent carelessness. As an experiment I once buried a beloved stuffed bunny rabbit. In college I washed a treasured patchwork quilt sewn by my grandmother in cruel commercial washing machines; the resulting ragged heap I dismissed as a hopeless case and threw out.

Many things were lost in numerous moves when I was young. It was as though a part of my life was being continually peeled away, not like excess off the top, but cut from deeper, more dearly held layers of my life. Most of my childhood toys disappeared. Where is the toybox my father made for me? By the time we moved to Texas, there were no dolls left, except for my poor put-upon, hair-ratted-to-death Barbie doll and her fab early-1960s clothes (the black torch singer outfit was to die for), and Mom sold her off with any other stray toys that were left (not that I blame her), with the sole exception being my Spirograph.

Only one of my pre-college books is left: The 1965 Webster's New Twentieth Century Unabridged Dictionary given to me by my mother.

There were many things that got lost when I had to quickly clear out Mom’s apartment after she died. Years later, two of my cousins kindly sent me personal items that my aunt had recovered after my not-so-thorough sifting through Mom’s things. One was my old scrapbook from junior high school and high school.

Other things have been lost in a rush to get things done, to attend to business, while what I thought were “minor details” were ignored and their significance only remembered when it was too late.

There was an old photo album, one of four I inherited from my mother; it was outsized and not easily stored on a shelf with the other three. Once, when my Aunt Joy came to visit in the 1990s, I took it out to show her some photos and have her identify some of the people in them. After she left, I must have carelessly set it aside (this was before my obsession with genealogy had truly taken root). Many hours have been spent searching for that album.

I was very lucky in later years, after I had let physical distance lead to loss of contact with relatives, that my cousins began to get back in touch with me. The contact became even more frequent after the genealogy bug hit. Gradually, through letters, e-mails, and Facebook we caught up with one another and traded memories and scanned pictures. With few exceptions, my cousins and I are now the “oldest” generation – the keepers of the memories - in our families. I sometimes wonder whether my search for “lost” and “orphan” relatives is an attempt to make up for every stupid thing I’ve done, every chance I’ve thrown away, every connection I’ve thoughtlessly sundered.

In the midst of the accumulated junk of the last 30 years of my life, things that I am trying to pare down to a minimum, which of the lost items of my past do I truly regret?

Just two – Grandma’s quilt and that old photo album. The rest of the things must not have been that essential, and their loss just makes the few items I have managed to hold on to even more precious.

That quilt will always haunt me, and I am still searching for that photo album.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Surname Saturday: Family of Reuben John Mulky and Martha Edna Sisson

Reuben/Robert John Mulky
b. Jan 1872, Georgia
& Martha Edna Sisson
b. Jul 1876
m. 6 May 1891, Calhoun Co., Alabama
|--John Mulky
|----b. Aug 1895, Alabama
|--Anne Girtie Mulky
|----b. Mar 1896, Alabama
|--Felix R. Mulky
|----b. Dec 1898, Alabama
|----d. 14 Feb 1965, Butts Co., GA
|--May Mulky
|----b. 1901, Alabama
|--Lulu Mulky
|----b. 1903, Alabama
|--Jodie Mulky
|----b. 1915, Georgia

Martha Edna Sisson was the half-sister of my great-grandmother Sarah Jane Sisson. Their father was William T. Sisson; Martha Edna was the daughter of William’s third wife, Susan Caroline Tant. I believe the parents of Reuben John Mulky (who shows up on the 1910 census as Robt. J. Mulky) were John E. and Eugenia Mulky.

I know very little about this family; I do not know who any of the children married nor the dates of death for most of them. I would love to share information with anyone related to/researching this family; you can contact me at my e-mail address, which can be found by going to my profile page (there is a link to that page in the About Me section to the left).

Friday, April 16, 2010

Family Newsletter Friday: 16 April 2010



As I mentioned in "Transcription Tuesday: Arkansas Marriages and 'Permission Slips,'" I have been using FamilySearch Record Search images of Arkansas County Marriage records for my Normans - what a huge resource! There are some surprises in there - a number of heretofore unknown first or second marriage are showing up. Also, if you remember my Mystery Normans, I have found the marriage license for Jane Norman and Zara Cotton. I do not know definitively that this was her only marriage, but I cannot find any other marriage records for her. I have also found what looks like a double marriage (both had Normans, they were on the same day, and the grooms signed for one another. Only I don't know who the Norman is on one of the marriages; must be part of the family I have not gotten to, yet).


In writing up a “Surname Saturday” post for the Green McCurry/Mary Emma Sisson last Saturday, I noted that my information on that family was pretty scant. Out of curiosity I hit a few databases just to make sure I had not overlooked some of the “basics,” and sure enough, I got a date of death for one of the children, Carlton McCurry. I found information both on Ancestry – in the Alabama Deaths 1908-1959 database – and on FamilySearch Record Search – in the Alabama Statewide Deaths 1908-1974 database. Although Carlton had a distinctive name and I suspected that the Carlton McCurry on Ancestry was the same guy, I could not be sure and so did not enter that information for him after I found it on Ancestry. The information on FamilySearch Record Search, however, even though it did not have an image, either, at least included Carlton’s parents, so that I knew it was him. Whenever Family Search and Ancestry cull information for these vital records databases, Family Search seems to win out for including more information.

Uploaded Pictures on Ancestry Searchable

When I read in the monthly Ancestry e-mail Newsletter that there is a search page for uploaded photos on Ancestry, I gave it a try. There were a lot of results for "Brinlee." I had found a few photos earlier doing census searches through the links provided to Public Family Trees, but this is a much easier way to find photos - pretty amazing. Now I am trying other names, but the search has to be carefully tailored for common names or you will get a bazillion hits.


I finally added a list of my favorite posts to the “Best Of” page on this blog.

Knoxville in August!

I made my hotel reservations last weekend and will be sending in my conference registration soon! I just have to figure out which dinners and luncheons to attend. History husband will be coming with me and will be spending his time on the “history” part in Nashville. I am sooooo excited!

My random subject this week: The Toaca

Also known as the semantron, semanterion, or xylon in English; the bilo in Russian. For more information you can check out the Wikipedia article on the semantron here. It is usually made out of a long piece of wood and is used to call the Eastern Orthodox faithful to worship in many Balkan countries and a few monasteries in Russia. It came into use before bells and is sometimes used in addition to bells, particularly at monasteries.

Follow Friday: Nutfield Genealogy

This week I would like to start Follow Friday with a couple of articles of interest, followed by the featured blog of the week, followed by the rest of the list of articles of interest.

The reason? Well, read and you’ll see!

Leah at The Internet Genealogist has been publishing transcriptions of “A Mighty Mott Memoir”; as of today, I believe she is up to Part 11. If you click on Mott under “Labels,” you can pull them all up. It’s an articulately written and fascinating memoir.

To make the story even more interesting, there is a connection to this story at Heather Rojo’s Nutfield Genealogy: “Cousins Collaborate on a Genealogy Story.” I love it when things like this happen!

Heather Rojo's Nutfield Genealogy puts genealogy into the context of history, very often local history ("Working at 'The Shoe' in Beverly, Massachusetts"). The locations vary - New England, Yorkshire, Spain, and Hawaii, among others - and are amply illustrated with photographs. There are some very interesting family genealogy stories (Missionary to New Zealand?), and they often include the research that turned up the story. What I especially like is that Heather proves something I have always suspected - history is definitely not dry or boring!

At Photo Detective with Maureen A. Taylor, Maureen has written the final installment of a series of articles on a mystery photo with triplets (“Final Words on the Triplets”).

Becky Wiseman of kinnexions continues to have some fabulous photographs of her travels. Be sure to keep checking – interesting sights and top-notch photography. This week I have enjoyed seeing pictures of Death Valley, which my family and I visited when I was a child.

Laughing with the You-Go Genealogy Girls on their preparations for Salt Lake City – it will be your turn to laugh at me when I get ready for Knoxville in August!

Speaking of Salt Lake City, if you are going, I hope you have been following The Chart Chick Janet Hovorka’s tips on Guide to Salt Lake City articles so that you will be prepared to have a great time!

I’m not going to steal any thunder from the next Carnival of African-American Genealogy, but I just have to say some of the posts I have been reading on the subject of “Grandma’s Hands” are awesome!

Happy 4th Blogoversary to Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings!

Tech discussions:

Some different views on Macs and genealogy programs at James Tanner's Genealogy’s Star and John Newmark's TransylvanianDutch. All I have ever used is Reunion on a Mac and I'm not what you would call a power user, so I wouldn’t know how to compare it to other programs, but I love it.

"Apple computers and genealogy – all things great and small"
“Apple for Genealogy”
“Excuse Me, What is This?”
More Apple Genealogy

This week I started following these blogs:

Nolichucky Roots
FGS Voice

And finally, please keep our fellow genealogy bloggers in your thoughts and prayers: Deepest sympathy to Vickie Everhart at BeNotForgot for the loss of her husband and prayers and condolences to Carol at Reflections from the Fence for the death of her cousin’s husband and other family members who are gravely ill.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Transcription Tuesday: Arkansas Marriages and “Permission Slips”

So I’m working on my enormous Norman family and going back through the whole bunch to find as many marriage records as I can in FamilySearch Record Search’s Arkansas County Marriages, 1837-1957 database. Which is a lot of marriage records. I am having flashbacks to a long weekend spent when I first found the Texas Death Certificate database there (talk about a crick in the neck!).

One of the pleasant surprises in the images of these records is that, when the groom was under the age of 21 and/or the bride was under the age of 18, a parent or guardian had to give written permission for the child to get married, and these “permission slips” are often included in the record books. The down side is that they often cover part of all of the marriage documents (Bond for Marriage License, Affidavit, Marriage License, Certificate of Marriage, and Certificate of Record). Still, it’s nice to see relatives’ handwriting and how they phrased their permission.

Below are transcriptions from three such notes and images of two (the third image is very faint).

Note on marriage records of Cleo Pennington and Helen Norman:

“Meyers, Ark.
Nov. 7 - 45
To whom it may concern this is to certify that we W.D. Norman and Irene Norman has given our consent for Helen Norman marriage to Cleo Pennington.
Yours truly
W.D. Norman
Irene Norman”

Note on marriage records of Odis Norman and Eula Mae Kinsey

“I agree for my son Odis Norman to get his married
August 20, 1938
Wiley Norman and Gertie Norman”

Note on marriage records of Cecil Tackett and Validee Norman:

Bonnerdale, Ark.
Feb. 1, 1943
To Whom It May Concern:

This is to certify that we, Joe Tackett and Effie Tackett, the parents of Cecil Tackett, do hereby give our consent to the marriage of Cecil Tackett to Validee Norman.
(Mother) Effie Tackett
(Father) Joe Tackett”

Monday, April 12, 2010

Memory Monday: Walking Home

Thanks to Donna Pointkowski of What’s Past is Prologue for her article “The Walk Home,” which inspired this post.

As I read Donna’s evocative description of her walk home from school, I was seized by the thought: “Oh, yes, I remember my walks home very well! What a great subject to write about!”

And then I thought about it. I could remember the geometric shape and general distance of the various walks home I made in elementary school, high school, and my first junior high school (the other four junior highs, which I attended for less than a full year in each case and were located in areas that I never really became familiar with, blur together).

But I could not remember many specific sights – no houses or landmarks stood out in my mind. Because, you see, I had and continue to have a habit of walking while looking at the ground. I do remember kicking fall leaves and feeling a crisp fall chill in the air.

But when you are looking at the ground or spaced out in daydream-land, most of your surroundings do not make much of an impression.

And looking at the ground was why I found the ten-dollar bill on the way home from Davidson Elementary School when I was in first grade. My mother drove me to and from school when I was in kindergarten, but from first grade on I walked. And this day I was walking home with Pam P., a friend and neighbor who lived two doors down from us. She saw it shortly after I did, perhaps alerted by my sharp intake of breath. I was a bit closer, but she was a bit smaller and faster, so our hands landed on the bill at the same time.

This was early 1960s money. Ten dollars was nothing to turn your nose up at, especially for two six-year-olds.

Neither of us relinquished our hold on the bill. We looked at one another, sizing up one another’s resolve to hold on and calculating the legitimacy of our respective claims. There was no getting around it – our claim and our resolve were equal.

“Someone must have dropped this.”

“I wonder if they’re looking for it.”

“Too late now.”

Our hands were still on the bill. Then the inspiration hit one of us.

“We have to get two five dollar bills for this.”

We were still holding onto the bill.

“I’ll take it to my dad; he’ll have two fives,” volunteered Pam.

“My house is closer.”

A pause. “Well, we’ll check at your house first and then at my house.”

For some reason, from that point Pam trusted me to carry the bill. I don’t remember which set of parents we got change from, but we ended up satisfied and remained friends after that close call.

The other incident that stands out in my memory had to do with a horse. My walk home from my second elementary school, Warm Springs, passed by a couple of small farms. I guess you couldn’t really call them farms; perhaps they were what was left after a farm was split up. Still, there were a few crops and on one of them, a horse. On the way home from school I used to stop and pet the horse, talk to him, and give him some of the lunch carrots that I never ate, or an apple if I had one. It got to the point that he would come trotting over as soon as he heard my voice.

But one day he would not come all the way over to see me. He took a few tentative steps, but stopped well short of the fence. I noticed that there was an extra wire on top of the fence. Perhaps that had spooked him? I started to speak to him and put my hand out and up to let him know that it was all right … all right …

I could no longer see or hear anything; I could no longer move. A hot, painful jolt went through my body. After a frightening second or two passed, my hand was no longer touching the wire. Fear, pain, and indignation welled up in me. He was afraid of an electrified wire. No wonder he would come no closer. “Good boy, it’s OK,” I whispered and walked on home, numb and in pain at the same time.

After that I continued to walk by the farm and would always say something to him, but I would not stop, just in case he might forget and come over to the fence. Sometime that year the people who owned the little piece of land must have moved. The horse was gone and the field was cleared out.

On one occasion a school friend who took the bus home talked me into getting an extra ticket from the front office. I did so, but after my friend was dropped off, I could not recognize the stop for my street. Everything looked different from the bus, and I had never paid close attention, anyway. At the end of the route, I had to admit defeat and shyly ask the driver to take me to Lankershim. He drove me back a ways, and there it was. Better to walk. Better to take my nice, familiar dirt path.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

1880 Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Schedules and a Few Mysteries

A recent Ancestry Weekly Discovery newsletter highlighted these seven schedules:

“While finding any record on our ancestors is a thrill for us, sometimes the contents in those records give us pause. Such is the case with the “1880 Schedules of Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes.” Seven supplemental schedules were taken with the 1880 U.S. Census that tallied and gave intimate details on the insane, idiots, deaf-mutes, blind persons, homeless children, inhabitants in prison, and paupers and the indigent.”

In the case of my Lewis family, there was an ancestor – a great-great aunt named Sarah Lewis – whom I expected to find there. I already knew that she was deaf from the regular census schedules. And sure enough, a search on the Lewis name in South Carolina turned up Sarah Ann Lewis in Centerville, Anderson County.

Surprisingly, it turned up two other Lewises in Anderson County: Mary Lewis (also listed as Margaret Lewis) in Belton and Martha Lewis in Centerville. The Lewis family was a large one with many branches still living in Anderson at this time, so I cannot be sure whether or not Mary and Martha were the sisters of my great-great grandfather Elisha Berry Lewis (I do know that he had two sisters by these names) or were from other branches of the family.

There are enough “mystery” siblings of Elisha Berry Lewis (son of Elisha Lewis and Rosannah Dalrymple) to make this family one of my main research subjects. To narrow down the identities of Mary and Martha I may have to go back a generation as well to look into the families of at least a couple of Elisha Sr.’s brothers (Major, Jesse, and possibly John; I believe the rest moved to Tennessee around 1810).

Speaking of “mystery siblings,” one is missing here whom I expected to find: J. Newton Lewis. But then again, the only census I have ever seen him on is the regular 1880 census. Here are the Lewis siblings, minus Elisha Berry, listed as living together on that census:

1880 US Federal Census, Centerville Township, Anderson County, South Carolina, Enumeration District 19, page 36, 19 June 1880, dwelling number 326, family number 335

Lewis, Martha W F 60 Single At home SC SC SC
Lewis, Sarah Ann W F 57 Sister Single At home Listed in columns for “Deaf and dumb” and “Maimed, crippled, bedridden, or otherwise disabled” SC SC SC
Lewis, J. Newton W M 53 Brother Single Farmer “Maimed, etc.” SC SC SC
Smith, Mary E. W F 51 Sister Single Divorced SC SC SC
Dalrymple, Rebecca W F 91 Aunt Single “Maimed, etc.” SC SC SC

J. Newton must have suffered from some sort of disability, but perhaps it was from an accident or illness and did not merit his inclusion on the Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Schedule. The big mystery remains: Why is this the only mention of him I am able to find? I almost wonder whether he was a “phantom”! To deepen the mystery a little further, one genealogy (on the Dalrymple side) mentions two other brothers whom I have not been able to find: Samuel and Pinkney; a Dalrymple researcher with whom I have corresponded says that this information is included in the diary of a clergyman who was a friend of the family.

Sarah Ann Lewis is listed under “deaf mutes,” a condition which appeared at birth (indicated by a “B” in the age of onset column). It is further indicated that she spent 6 years at an institution for deaf mutes in Cedar Springs, Spartanburg, SC. This would have been the South Carolina Institution for the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind, which was founded in 1849 by N. P. Walker and is still in existence today. The schedule also indicates that Sarah was at least partially able to support herself.

The information for Mary on the “insane” schedule may indicate that she was not Elisha Berry’s sister: it indicates that the symptoms appeared at age 19 and have continued for 8 years, so she would have been too young. This Mary Lewis is said to suffer from “melancholia.” On the regular census, Elisha Berry’s sister Mary is listed as Mary Smith, divorced. (There is an intriguing possibility that her ex-husband may have been a member of the Smith family to which the Lewis family had a number of ties.)

Martha Lewis is listed on the “pauper and indigent” schedule; no age is given. She is said to be blind. I do not believe this Martha Lewis is Elisha Berry’s sister, either; on the 1860 census, his sister Martha’s occupation is given as “School teacher.”

So there are a number of mysteries that I can look forward to investigating:

Did J. Newton Lewis exist, and if he did, why doesn’t he show up anywhere else?

Who were the Mary and Martha Lewis who appear on the Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Schedule and were they related to my Lewises?

Who was Mary Lewis Smith’s ex-husband?

Did Elisha Lewis and Rosannah Dalrymple have sons named Samuel and Pinkney?

One final point of interest is that none of Elisha Berry Lewis’ siblings seems to have had children. The only sibling who appears to have gotten married was Mary, and since she was shown as single on the 1870 census (when she would have been around 40-41 years old), she probably had no children and none are shown living with her in 1870.

Elisha Berry Lewis is buried in Midway Presbyterian Cemetery, Anderson, SC, as are his sisters Sarah Ann (1828-1897) and Mary Rosanna (1835-1898).

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Surname Saturday: Green L. McCurry and Mary Emma Sisson Family

Green L. McCurry
b. Jan 1872, Alabama
d. 1936, Talladega, Alabama
& Mary Emma Sisson
b. Feb 1874, Alabama
d. 1950, Alabama
m. 25 Dec 1901, Talladega, Alabama
|--Arthur Grey McCurry
|----b. 1903, Alabama
|----d. 1922
|--Katie Ivy McCurry
|----b. 1908, Alabama
|--Carlton McCurry
|----b. 1911, Alabama
----d. 28 Jul 1955, Birmingham, Jefferson, Alabama

This family is part of my Sisson family through my great-grandmother Sarah Jane Sisson. Mary Emma would have been her half-sister. Their father was William T. Sisson; Sarah Jane’s mother was Jerusha Elizabeth Neeley and Mary Emma’s mother was Margaret Jane Lambert.

For the most part I know very little about what happened to the children, particularly who they married or when they died. I would love to share information with anyone related to/researching this family; you can contact me at my e-mail address, which can be found by going to my profile page (there is a link to that page in the About Me section to the left).

Friday, April 9, 2010

Follow Friday: Reflections from the Fence

Genealogy bloggers are a stimulating lot: curious, with a sense of what makes a good story, usually with a love of fun, adventure, and nature’s beauty, and often with an infectious joie de vivre. Carol of Reflections from the Fence is an outstanding example in this mold.

Just during the past week or so she has written a couple of thought-provoking articles on balancing one of the big chores of genealogy research – transcription – with other aspects of research (not to mention “regular” life): “Relatively Speaking, Cousins That Blog, Annespiration” and “Reflection’s Balancing Act, or, Nope, It Ain’t Perfect.” Which also features her genealogy and blogging interaction with her cousins Anne at Generational and Gene Notes and Karen at Genealogy Frame of Mind. And then there is the whole Wordless Wednesday … competition? … with yet another of my favorite GeneaBloggers, Linda at Flipside (mostly in the area of nature pictures –great photography on both blogs!).

Like Becky at kinexxions, Carol and her husband (aka “Man”) are avid travelers; their RV, “Tana,” as well as their adorable Yorkies, are characters in their own right on Carol’s blog. Lately we have been treated to some great photography from their travels in Alabama, in particular the gorgeous Bellingrath Gardens. Reflections truly shows a breadth of interests and depth of talent that belie the stereotype of the genealogy researcher as a one-note monomaniac. And, oh yes, I forgot – humor (See “RVers Sense of Humor – Rubber Duckies Style”). Oh, yes, and one more thing – Carol is a fellow contributor to the “Friend of Friend” posts (latest post – “Friend of Friends, Darden, Isle of Wight County, Virginia, Will Naming Slaves”).

So, if you one are of the rare GeneaBloggers or followers who has not yet dropped by Reflections from the Fence (aka a total newbie), go check it out – you will have fun and learn something, too!

This Week

Hooray! Root Seek is back!

Ruth Himan of Genealogy is Ruthless with Me brings her engineering background to bear in her discussion of “Accuracy versus Precision.”

Gena Philibert Ortega suggests some great ideas in “Saving Money So You Can Do More Genealogy” at Gena’s Genealogy.

Sheri Fenley had a wonderful Monday, described in “The Best Monday Ever! Part Uno” and "The Best Monday Ever! Part Dos" at The Educated Genealogist.

Tina at Gen Wish List describes “How I Influenced Ancestry – The Tale of Unenhanced Images Part 2” – outstanding, Tina! Now if I could just get them to replace the “black screen” that I get instead of an image for the WWI Draft Registration Card of one of my great uncles.

Leah at The Internet Genealogist wonders why some people have such a negative reaction to being told they resemble an older or deceased relative in “My Mistake, You’re Nothing Alike.” Sheesh, and I like to flatter myself that I look a bit like my great-grandmother Lizzie….

Patti at Consanguinity gives us “More Updates: The ‘Mystery Photo,’” which features an analysis of it by Photo Sleuth Brett Payne: another great example of genealogy bloggers helping one another.

Katrina at Kick-Ass Genealogy writes about the need for "Cataloguing Your Genealogical Library."

At What's Past Is Prologue, Donna looks into the true story behind the song "The Boy Next Door" using census records - now I am going to be hearing that song in my head every time I browse the census to look at my ancestors' neighbors.

This week I started following these blogs:

Girl of the Random Leaf
Atascocita Kingwood Genealogical Society
Heather’s Genealogy Notes

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Many Thanks

I was surprised, humbled, and honored to receive the Ancestor Approved Award from five fellow bloggers whom I greatly admire:

Michelle at The Turning of Generations
Linda at Documenting the Details
Karen at Genealogy Frame of Mind
Kim at Ancestors of mine from Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky & Beyond (hey, Kim, did I tell you – I have ancestors from three of those states!)
Lisa at The Faces of My Family

Many thanks to you, ladies – you have made my week!

Those who receive this award are supposed to list 10 things we have learned about our ancestors that have surprised, humbled or enlightened us and then pass the award on to 10 other genealogy bloggers who we feel are doing their ancestors proud.

I would like to pass this award on to the following bloggers:

Cindy at Everything’s Relative – Researching Your Family History
Stephanie at Lincecum Lineage
Kate at Genealogy Bug
Judy at Genealogy Traces
Charles at Mikkel’s Hus
Taneya at Taneya’s Genealogy Blog
Ralph at Pierce Level
Alex at Winging It
Patti at Consanguinity
And last but certainly not least, Cousin Vickie at BeNotForgot

I’m sure many or most of the recipients have already received this award, so you may pass it on as you see fit.

Surprised, Humbled, Enlightened

1. Surprised at how many family legends on the Brinlee side are true and how many on the Floyd side are not.

2. Surprised that the forbears of some of my “dirt poor dirt farmer” families were pretty well off.

3. Humbled at the generosity of distant cousins who share information and pictures and at the generosity of fellow GeneaBloggers who share information and expertise.

4. Surprised that there are so many Revolutionary War Patriots, Civil War veterans, and Quakers in my background.

5. Enlightened by the fact that most of my genealogy breakthroughs are due to stubbornness rather than any brilliance on my part (harrumph!).

6. Humbled that so many of my ancestors could persevere after losing their land, their spouses, and their children.

7. Enlightened by how much history you can learn through genealogical research.

8. Surprised to find a Dallas County sheriff and a drafter of the Texas Declaration of Independence in my family tree.

9. Surprised and enlightened by how addictive reading other bloggers’ accounts of their genealogy mysteries and research conundrums can be.

10. Humbled and surprised – no, amazed – that I am here at all, considering all the hardships my ancestors had to go through.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Who Do You Think You Are? Has Been Renewed for a Second Season!

You can read the details here. It was one of three "freshman alternative series" to be renewed by NBC, which described them as having "demonstrated increasing popularity and generated far-reaching interest among viewers" as well as having a "compelling and innovative format."

Friday, April 2, 2010

Follow Friday: Random Notes

Happy blogoversary to:

Leah Kleylein at Random Notes, which is the blog I'd like to feature this week. Leah is a witty and erudite writer on many subjects and is always good for inspiring a laugh or forcing you to think. Full confession – we seem to share a lot of interests and opinions (see “Lament for the Movie Credit,” “Don’t Stand So Close to Me,” “I Cook with Wine. Sometimes I even Add it to the Food,” and “My Brain Hurts,” just to name a few) so her posts often evoke a memory, a sympathetic response, or a feeling of something familiar to me. If you need a laugh, want to see a picture that will bring a smile, or just get some good research ideas, check out Random Notes.

Be sure to catch Betty's wonderful story of a lifelong friendship - "Fearless Females/Sentimental Sunday: My Mother’s Best Friend” at Betty’s Boneyard Genealogy Blog.

This week Family Tree Gal has a thought-provoking post on being a good neighbor, “Talk About It Tuesday: Living Into Loneliness.” And there is an encouraging follow-up here.

John at TransylvanianDutch Genealogy & Family History (re)posted an important reminder in “PSA: Genealogy Can Save Your Life: 2010.”

Julie Cahill Tarr at Genblog reminds us that "A Book Index Isn't Always Enough" and backs up her assertion with a very convincing graph!

Excellent tech hints this week at:

Apple's Tree“Blogging Tip – Let Me Contact You!” - on making sure contact information is easy to find on your blog, with several different options described. Which reminds me, I need to think about adding the Contact button back to my blog.
(BTW - Prayers and heartfelt wishes for the recovery of Apple's mother.)

Geneabloggers - "Make Your Blog Print Friendly" - on adding a button that will make it possible to print just the blog post.

This week I started following these blogs:

Hearts and Bones
High-Definition Genealogy
Musings of MidwestAncesTree

Thank you to Lori of Genealogy and Me for the "Ancestor Approved Award"!

I have enjoyed reading many blogs this week, but have been preparing for Easter instead of focusing on research, so there will be no Newsletter this week.